Island Driving for City Slickers

Anna Maria Island – For most folks, all it takes is crossing over the causeway for the stresses of the real world to be washed away by sunshine and salty air; others may need a reminder or two. Once you see that beautiful “Welcome to Anna Maria Island” sign, you can relax, you should relax, you paid good money to relax, you came here to relax, that should include when you are behind the wheel of your car.

You work hard all year, meet deadlines, crunch numbers, pay bills, raise kids, fight traffic so that you can come here and chill. There are no hurries or traffic jams in our magical paradise.

So, during your stay here take a deep breath and ‘cruise’. Try to remember what it was like to actually enjoy a scenic drive. Because you will be hard pressed to find better scenery than this.

To help you transition into ‘Zen Island Driving’ here are some handy tips:

#1 You must stop at a designated crosswalks WHEN pedestrians are present.

#2 You DON’T stop at every designated crosswalk when there are no pedestrians present and I am behind you on my way to work!

#3 The trolley is NOT a school bus. If you are in oncoming lanes, you don’t

Anna Maria Island trolley
Anna Maria Island Locals LOVE the free trolley!

need to stop. (unless you are at a crosswalk and there are pedestrians present.)((Or unless it  isn’t a trolley and it IS a school bus!))

#4 It is easy to get distracted by all of the palm trees swaying in the breeze, but keep an eye out for unexpected stop signs, bicyclists,  club cars, golf carts, segways, beachgoers and most of all, other distracted drivers!

#5 There is no rush on Anna Maria. PERIOD! So slow down! Our speed limits are set to protect our residents and guests and they are    STRICTLY  enforced!

#6 Forget your car has a  horn– they upset our wild parrots and whoever you are beeping at is probably lost or doesn’t care.

#7 Take the FREE trolley! There are trolley stops up and down the island    and you can hop on and off as much as you like all day, every day!

The whole point of being here for visitors and residents alike is to be in paradise. As a guest on Anna Maria Island, we welcome you and hope you enjoy every ray of sunshine and every wave dancing up to the beach. We also want you to be safe and happy, so go do it.!

Outdoor Dining Anna Maria Island – Dine and Drink El Fresco!

Outdoor Dining on Anna Maria Island is the quintessential way to hang out in beautiful tropical climate! There’s nothing better than when going out to grab a bite to eat or drinks, having the warm island breeze surrounding you. Some of the wonderful restaurants I’ve listed below have beautiful water views of either the crystal clear Gulf or Bay, or an open-air setting directly across the street from the beach.

The fresh air of AMI always makes your food taste that much better and your drinks that much tastier, bringing you relaxing vibes that will be sure to lift your spirit. I have suggested different places from smaller and more quant spots, to casual any-time spots, to romantic night spots.

Outdoor Dining Anna Maria Island

Sandbar – 100 Spring Ave, Anna Maria

Direct Gulf front

sandbar restaurant in anna maria

The Waterfront – 111 South Bay Blvd, Anna Maria
Bay views

Anna Maria Pier – 100 South Bay Blvd, Anna Maria
Out in the middle of the Tampa Bay

Anna Maria City pier

Bridgetender – 135 Bridge Street, Bradenton Beach
Direct bay front

Bridgetender inn Bradenton Beach

Island Time Bar & Grill – 111 Gulf Drive South, Bradenton Beach
Open-air setting, across the street from the Gulf

The Beachhouse – 200 Gulf Drive North, Bradenton Beach
Direct Gulf front

Anna Maria Island Beach Cafe – 4000 Gulf Dr, Holmes Beach
Direct Gulf front

Wildlife, Inc. – Animal Rescue Anna Maria Island

Ed Straight with scorned owl
Ed Straight with scorned owl

This animal rescue Anna Maria Island is small but the tireless dedication of Gail and Ed Straight is huge.

The Wildlife Education and Rehabilitation Center is a nonprofit organization for the rehabilitation of injured and orphaned wildlife located in Bradenton Beach.

 

Animal Rescue Anna Maria Island

Since 1988 they have cared for thousands of animals every year. 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. They also supply medicine, food and surgeries for injured or orphaned animals until they can be released to the wild. Their mission is supported by an all-volunteer staff. During the course of a week 10-15 volunteers are helping to achieve this goal alongside the two primary operators Ed & Gail Straight.

All funding comes from donations and occasional grants. Springtime is usually the busiest for them, but they are always in need of supplies and funding. The next big fund raiser for Wildlife, Inc is the upcoming 14th Annual Blood Drive on Saturday, June 7 and 8, 2014 at 9 am – 4 pm, Saint Bernard Catholic Church, 248 S Harbor Dr., Holmes Beach. Please visit this link to stay informed about the organization’s activities.

If you find an animal in distress or like to get involved please call the center at 941-778-6324

 

How NOT to spend a day at the beach Anna Maria Island

This is our guide on how not to spend a day at the beach Anna Maria Island. Our coastlines are a serene oasis for people all over the world. In order to keep them this way, here are a few tips on what to avoid when spending a day on the surf:

1. Please no smoking on the beach!

Yes, it’s technically outside yet our wildlife is accustomed to our fresh clean salt air. Please do everyone a favor and don’t light up on the sand.

2. As tempting as it can be, please do not

scavenger hunt seagulls
Find seagulls on your scavenger hunt!

feed the seagulls.

If you’ve ever been the victim of a seagull swam fighting over a Cheeto, you’ll thank me for this warning.

3. If you see a turtle nest – please do not touch!

The nesting turtles are endangered and protected by law. Not only will harassers get a fine, the dirty looks from surrounding beachgoers may haunt your entire vacation!

4. Don’t be loud!

The natural sound of the waves crashing, the salty wind and sea birds calling is music to our ears – no loud radios necessary! Please leave the boom boxes at home and enjoy the soothing sounds of the Gulf of Mexico live in concert!
And Finally…

5. Don’t leave trash

Anna Maria Island sea turtlesWhen heading home after your glorious beach day, please make sure to gather all your belongings as well as any trash. Most beach access roads have large trash cans provided that you can use. Strive to leave your area of the beach even better than when you arrived – maybe start a game offering treats for the kids in your party to find extra trash!

When we all do MORE than just our share we can ensure the beautiful beaches of Anna Maria Island will continue to be enjoyed by generations to come. If we are lucky enough to spend a day on the beach, then we’re lucky enough!

Have you been to Island Time?

Bradenton Beach – Anna Maria Island is known for having fantastic locally-owned restaurants like Island Time! One of my favorite places to go on the island is Island Time Bar & Grill in Bradenton Beach. This is an open-air restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating. You are right across the street from the beach to see the sunset too! While enjoying some of their delicious food, cocktails and live music, you’ll love the atmosphere!

Island Time

They have live music 5-7 days a week. Have you ever been to a bar or restaurant and the band/singer starts performing and it’s just no good? It’s a bummer because it can potentially kill the good vibe going on. Well, Island Time always has great bands/singers that everyone enjoys! This restaurant is both family oriented and fun for a night out.

Island Time has awesome food. Every time I’ve eaten there, I’ve always liked what I ordered! They have an awesome 7 layer dip for an appetizer along with other great choices. You’ll also find really good sandwiches, lobster bisque, burgers, and much more! Don’t be afraid to try something new – you will love it!

I know when I’ve been at the beach all day I love to walk across the street to Island Time to get an ice cold drink! Island Time’s bar staff is all very nice and attentive. It’s no fun when you have to wait forever to get a drink! The staff is great and they acknowledge you as soon as you get to the bar. Check out some of their drinks specials below!

Happy Hour

Mon. – Fri. 11:30am to 4pm

$2.50 Domestic Bottles

$6.00 Signature Cocktails

$2.00 Bud & Bud Light Drafts

$5.00 Frozen Drinks

In the mood to dine outside?  Check out more information on outdoor dining on Anna Maria Island.

Anna Maria Island Drinks to Aid in Relaxation

Here is a list of Anna Maria Island drinks to get you relaxed island style! When you are thinking of an Anna Maria Island beach vacation what complements the tropical breezes better than a delicious tropical drink!  There are so many to choose from, but these are by far my favorites.

Anna Maria Island cocktails

They will complement any palate, occasion or any meal for that matter.  I have listed them below with their recipe that anyone can master!  Also there are a few places to purchase your favorite liquors right here on the island… Hurricane Liquors or Walgreens Liquor Store.  I hope this makes all of your stays on Anna Maria Island a little more relaxing…

Mojito:

You Will Need:

  • 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 8 fresh mint leaves, plus more for garnish
  • 1/4 cup (2 ounces) white rum
  • 1 cup ice
  • 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) club soda
  • lime slice for garnish

Directions:

  1. Add lime juice, sugar and eight mint leaves to a cocktail shaker. Use the end of a wooden spoon or cocktail muddler to bash (or muddle) the mint into the lime juice and sugar. This releases oils from the mint and helps the sugar dissolve into the lime juice.
  2. Add rum, stir well then pour into a glass filled with ice, leaving about an inch of room then top with club soda. Garnish with extra mint leaves and a lime slice.

La Paloma:

You will need:

  • 2 ounces blanco or repesado tequila
  • 6 ounces fresh Jarritos Grapefruit soda (if you can’t find Jarritos don’t make this drink)
  • 1/2 ounce lime juice
  • Salt for rimming (optional)

Directions:

  1. Rim a glass with salt.
  2. Fill the glass with ice and add the tequila and lime juice.
  3. Top it off with grapefruit soda.

 

Strawberry Daiquiri:

You will need:

  • 2 ounces light rum
  • 1/2 ounce triple sec orange liquor
  • 1 ounce lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup ice
  • 5-10 strawberries (to taste)

Directions:

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a blender.

Dark & Stormy:

You will need:

  • 2 ounces Gosling’s Black Seal rum
  • 3 ounces Barrit’s Ginger Beer
  • Lime wedge for garnish

Directions:

  1. Pour the ingredients in a glass one at a time filled with ice cubes.
  2. Garnish with the lime wedge.

Margarita:

You will need:

  • 1 1/2 ounces tequila
  • 1/2 ounce triple sec(Cointreau is recommended)
  • 1 ounce fresh lime juice
  • Lime wedge for garnish
  • Salt or sugar to rim the glass (optional)

Directions:

  1. Pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice cubes.
  2. Shake well
  3. If desired, salt the rim of a chilled glass.
  4. Pour contents, with ice, into the glass.
  5. Garnish with the lime wedge.

Delicious Anna Maria Island Breakfast Spots

Breakfast SpotsAnna Maria is well known for its white sandy beaches and amazing Gulf front dining.  But dinner is not the only time to discover one of the island’s culinary gems; breakfast IS the most important meal of the day after all!

It would be impossible to pick “the best” breakfast restaurant on the island, as each has a unique personality.  Southern Living touts Ginny’s & Jane E’s at the Old IGA for a special breakfast experience, the fabulous Morning Glory muffin and the funky beach chic boutique. Sink your toes in the sand at the Sandbar during their Sunday jazz brunch.  While visiting one of Forbes List of America’s Prettiest Towns, try the Donut Experiment on Historic Pine Avenue. For an international flair, the Island Creperie French Bistro located on Bridge Street in Bradenton Beach serves up a myriad of selections.  In the mood to eat alot of pancakes?  Try the all you can eat pancake breakfast at the Anna Maria Island Beach Cafe.

Local favorites include the home style of Peach’s in Holmes Beach, the “specials board” is always something special!  Minnie’s is a great little breakfast and lunch spot.  A petite restaurant offering  great service, an intimate setting and nice portions…be sure to bring cash, because Minnie’s, as well as several other local favorites are still cash only!

Discover your favorite breakfast spot by exploring the flavorful delights Anna Maria Island has to offer!

Anna Maria Island Beaches information

Here on Anna Maria Island we have beautiful beaches and all of the Beaches along the Gulf of Mexico on Anna Mariaanna Maria island beaches Island are public. There are private entries and Public Beaches with lots of parking but once you get to the sand and Gulf waters, the beaches are everyone’s to enjoy. You can find a beach access point almost anywhere on the island, just look down the street from your house.

There are three main Public Beaches on Anna Maria Island: Bay Front Park, Manatee Public Beach, and Coquina Beach. Bay Front Park is located at the north end of the Island in the City Of Anna Maria. At Bay Front Park you will find quite beaches, spectacular views of the Sky Way Bridge, and offers lots of free parking, covered picnic tables, grills, public restrooms, and a play ground on the beach for children.

Manatee Public Beach is located in Holmes Beach where Manatee Avenue runs right into the Gulf of Mexico. Manatee Public Beach has free parking, picnic tables, public restrooms, a playground on the beach for children, a café right on the beach with food and drinks, and a lifeguard on duty.

Coquina Public Beach is located in Bradenton Beach just south of Bridge Street at the south end of Anna Maria Island. Coquina Public Beach has lots free parking, picnic tables, grills, public restrooms, a play ground on the beach for children, a café right on the beach with food and drinks, and a lifeguard on duty.

We hear many questions regarding, which beach is the best to go to?  All of our beaches have white sugar sand with some shells on the beach depending on the rise and fall of the tide. The number of people on the beach can be dramatically different depending on where you are.  Anna Maria City beaches are the quietest followed by Holmes Beach then Bradenton Beach. When comparing our beaches to most other Florida beaches we are VERY quiet.

There is plenty of entertainment to be found on our gorgeous beaches, Shelling, Bird Watching, just walking along the beach or searching for the perfect vacation rental or “peace of paradise”.  Going to the beach is the perfect way to relax and enjoy the moment!

Top 5 Ice Cream Places on Anna Maria Island

Hey dudes and dude-ettes!!  You’re back with The Island Kid right here on Kids Corner, the best place to get the best news on Anna Maria Island.  I’m here today to tell you guys about the absolute best places on the island to get your ice cream fix. Now, here on Anna Maria Island, there are plenty of places you can go if you want a frozen treat to eat. But if you’re unsure of which places are best and which places to rule out. Read on for good info!coffee ice cream

            Best Places for Ice Cream on Anna Maria Island

1: Two Scoops: This ice cream shop is a small shop nestled between Two Sides of Nature and across from the Anna Maria City Pier. With 32 rotating flavors, some as weird as blueberry pie and as normal as your classic vanilla, your pallet will always be pleased. They also have pastries, assorted lunch foods, and candy bars.

2: Dips: An ice cream shop near Three Island Monkeys and The Loft #5 in Anna Maria, this itty-bitty place packs the punch when it comes to ice cream. With thousands of flavors and topping variations, your experience will never be a bore.  Plus the classic candies and toys on the wall are great for a trip down memory lane.

3: Tyler’s Ice Cream is just over the bridge in Cortez Village.  Well worth the jaunt to enjoy some delicious gourmet flavors-literally hundreds over the years!  They have locally themed, as well as delicious classic flavors…and finding out what their latest is, is always part of the fun.  But creating your own flavor of shake just can’t be beat!

4: Joe’s Eats and Sweets: This place is the bomb.com. It’s got everything from chocolate to cotton candy & nerds and more! They also have pie on a stick-yes, on a stick- and various types of milkshakes and malts. This place is big colorful building right near Bridge Street in Bradenton Beach, so climb the steps, and check it out!

5: Holy Cow: No, I’m not shocked, they just have really good ice cream!  This place has many different combos of flavors and toppings, plus much more. They include a little mini gift shop inside the shop, plus indoor and outdoor seating. So feel free to enjoy your ice cream while browsing the trinkets.

Bonus tip – about 15 minutes off Anna Maria Island is a fantastic custard shop called Sweet Berries.  They mix all kinds of goodies in their custard ice cream and call it a concrete.  yum!

Whether you’re looking for just one spot or want try them all, these places are the best on the island.  So next time you’re visiting, go check ’em out! Let us know what you thought, and check back with us here on Kid’s Corner.

Blue Marlin Restaurant On Historic Bridge Street

Blue Marlin Restaurant on Historic Bridge StreetThe Blue Marlin Restaurant on Anna Maria Island serves only the freshest local seafood and is a great spot to catch local musicians.  Located on Historic Bridge Street in Bradenton Beach the Blue Marlin offers a unique dining experience in an intimate setting. The Blue Marlin is a nautical theme restaurant with local artwork and pictures throughout the restaurant.

Owner Adam Ellis has extensive knowledge of the local seafood market and purchases fresh fish daily in the Village of Cortez which provides the exquisite entrée selection and daily specials featuring the day’s catch. If you’re not a seafood lover try their famous steak sandwich, short ribs, or roasted chicken you won’t be disappointed.

Courtyard at the Blue Marlin in Bradenton Beach

If you’re in the mood for live music after dinner than the courtyard is the spot for you.  The courtyard at the Blue Marlin offers live music on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings in a very relaxing outdoor setting featuring different live bands every week.

So the next time you’re in the mood for tasty food and live music head down to the Blue Marlin on Historic Bridge Street in Bradenton Beach.

Blue Marlin
121 Bridge Street
Bradenton Beach, FL 34217